PPSC’s Landmark Inmate Training Hopes to Reinvent Lives

teacher and student

press release I Jan. 29, 2020

Pikes Peak State College has partnered with the El Paso Country Jail to teach inmates how to effectively reinvent their lives and improve their outcomes after release.

Eighteen inmates in the El Paso Country Jail will graduate from the college's life-changing "Growth and Leadership Life Skills Training Series" on Feb. 6, 1-2 p.m., 2739 E Las Vegas St, Briefing Room. The media is invited to attend.

This isn't like the life-skills trainings other jails around the country offer. Inmates here develop a life-reinvention plan with their dreams and goals in mind. This allows them to envision a future that is not defined by their past. Then, the life skills they practice are the support they need to believe they can achieve something new. This combination becomes a powerful motivator to drive positive change. 

"The El Paso County Jail project has given the PPSC Workforce team a chance to make an impact on this underserved population by teaching them life skills and self-awareness, offering opportunities to pursue workforce training, and giving them hope for life changes and a better future," said Ollie Mannino, PPSC's director of corporate and workforce training.

This landmark 12-week program, designed and facilitated by PPSC contractor Sara Boatz, includes interactive exercises where inmates:

  • Create a plan of action to reinvent their lives after jail, using attainable goals on a timetable.
  • Increase their self-awareness by reflecting on their good and bad traits.
  • Develop confidence about their skills which in turn boosts self-worth.
  • Learn to resolve conflict in a more constructive way using empathy and understanding. 
  • Learn business etiquette, writing, public speaking and job search skills.

Forty-five inmates volunteered for the first session which took place in August 2019. Of those 45, 40 have completed enrollment forms for Career Boost, a non-credit workforce training program through PPCC; about one-third has expressed interest in attending academic classes; and one is now taking IT classes in a community program. Since the start, 145 inmates have been touched by this program in some way. Here's what inmates are saying:

"This course helped me realize that no matter what my past may be, I can change my future and have what I want. It's all up to me on what kind of legacy I leave behind." 
-Graduate Alexander Ruiz 

"This program has really helped me to forward think, helping me focus on what I have in front of me instead of thinking of my past."
-Graduate Sabra Evilsizer                      

About PPSC's Workforce Development Division 

This division of PPSC provides non-credit professional development programs. We assist in career advancement by offering professional growth opportunities to individuals and businesses through certification programs, career pathway training programs, and customized corporate training.